Album: 1135 – EP
How do you foresee the death of our planet? Will it be soon? Or maybe distant—I think most of us would prefer if it were distant—not so much as a spec on the horizon of human thought. Will it be explosive, violent and chaotic or subtle, slipping away like a sigh? If we take the name of high-octane metalcore newcomers Earthshatter in its most literal sense, then I believe we have our answer. Lashing out with a style of mind-melting metalcore that uses everything from electronic elements to eviscerating breakdowns to keep the listener on the verge of hyperstimulated, 1135—the band’s debut offering—is a whirlwind release that harps on the nostalgic elements of the late-2000s Rise Records acts as readily as it bombards the listener with spastic, unpredictable and unique aggression. Running the gamut from catchy to crushing without lacking creativity in the slightest, Earthshatter have created something that is comforting in its familiarity while ear-catching in its remarkable uniqueness.
In a word, the instrumentation behind 1135 is…futuristic. With a backbone of gritty, hard-hitting metalcore given a lustrous sheen and touched up with electronic elements, Earthshatter’s breakout effort sounds kind of like listening to neon. Doesn’t make sense? Songs like “Ghost Orchid” or “Spit” are outstanding examples of what I’m trying to illustrate. Percussionist Rob Zalischi starts up on “Ghost Orchid” and refuses to slow down, hammering every track home with precision and pummeling energy. “Spit” is an outstanding example, especially as he works with bassist Dallas Bricker. Together, the two create a bustling low end and solid firmament that oscillates between catchy, fast-paced leads and ruthless, ravenous breakdowns. Other times—the tail end of “Spit,” or the EP’s title track—the duo are capable of a more moderate pace, giving guitarists Luke Snider and Leo Valeri room to create monstrous, swelling leads that tower over the listener like a wave mere moments before crashing down in the form of furious chugs and relentless breakdowns. “Vic Park” is an excellent example of Snider and Valeri transitioning in and out of heavy moments, creating a catchy, bouncy chorus that tethers together terrifying moments of brazen brutality. Earthshatter’s instrumentation is the product of a well oiled machine—and while the brief introduction is the most overtly “electronic” element of the record, programming remains laced throughout the more up-beat portions of every song 1135 has to offer, adding to the “catchy” factor that gives Earthshatter their nostalgic hue.
Just as Earthshatter’s musicians breathe fresh life into the “heavy/soft” dynamic throughout 1135, so does frontman Kyle Anderson do the same where the group’s vocal element is concerned. Home to some of the catchiest hooks to come out of metalcore in the last couple years, songs like “Ghost Orchid” and “1135” see Anderson at the top of his singing career. The flip-side of the coin lies with the bulk of Anderson’s work throughout 1135. Songs like “W.T.M.” and “Spit” see Anderson’s screams fuller and more ferocious than ever before—with an improved range and proclivity for innovative patterns over his work in The Afterimage, and more freedom to showcase these improved talents to boot. “1135” serves as the single best example of Anderson’s prowess—with every style from singing, speaking and screaming seen on the EP delicately crafted into one song—and it is far and away one of the most memorable. As it stands, however, Anderson is nothing if not consistent, as he truly shines from the first syllable of “Ghost Orchid” to the last harshly barked word of “Cheat Code.” Those familiar with Anderson’s previous works need not fear—he returns in brilliant form on 1135—perhaps the best he has ever been.
While 1135 is short, it checks all the boxes needed for a remarkable debut effort. Confidently mixing high-energy metal with ruthless metalcore, Earthshatter have given the underground music community something nostalgic and warm for the old heads and something catchy and brilliant for the young guns. Balancing heaviness, creativity and catchiness with the expertise of a veteran act, Earthshatter have foreshadowed dominion over metalcore with 1135—a release that has us hoping the world won’t end before we get a full-length offering.
For Fans Of: Born a New, The Afterimage, Currents, Polaris, Northlane
By: Connor Welsh